Novice Jewelry Makers Need These Things!

Your Imagination

When designing your jewelry line, sparking your imagination can be one of the biggest challenges.  Touching and looking at the beads and findings that you have is a great way to start.  You may also be inspired by seeing the work of others, however it is important that you don't "copy" another persons work.  It's okay to be inspired by their work, but you should always add your own creative spin if you are going to make something "like" it.  Look at some magazines, television or social media for inspiration, but showcase your own unique style. 

Bead Board or Tray

When making jewelry, sometimes it can be hard to keep things organized.  A bead board or tray may help you with this problem.  Most bead boards have '"grooves" or "channels" that the beads sit in.  It makes it easier to line up the beads for your designs.  They may also have sections where you can place the beads, spacers or charms that you are designing with  A bead tray does not have channels, but is also good to have on hand for the same reasons. 

Measuring Tape

Measuring tape is definitely essential.  You will need to measure the your pieces and also keep track of spacing.  Making sure your jewelry is proportionate is very necessary.

Wire, Thread or Cord

If you are a novice jewelry maker, you probably use a lot of stretch cord.  Stretch cord is great for making bracelets.  If you are making necklaces, you would want to use thread, cord or leather.  Softflex wire is great to use when making necklaces.  The medium wire will work on most designs.  If you decide to use the heavy wire, be sure the bead holes are big enough for you to double the wire back through when closing the piece. If you decide to use bar clasps, thread may be a better option because it is more flexible and softer than wire.

Cutters

Almost every jewelry project requires cutters.  It's a good idea to have more than one pair.  You should have a pair for cutting soft materials like thread or leather.  Another pair will be needed for cutting harder materials like chains, metals and wire.  Keep in mind if you are using memory wire, you will need a special pair of memory wire cutters.  When your new cutters become dull, you can use them for cutting things that require more force.

Super Glue

If you are stringing beads or doing minor repairs, super glue will come in handy.  It dries clear and sets in about one minute.  Super glue can cause problems if you don't apply it properly.  If you use too much, it could dry cloudy.  If you're not careful, you can get your fingers or other objects stuck together.  Acetone or nail polish remover may help to remove unwanted super glue from your hands.

Pliers

The type of pliers you need depend on your jewelry design. Pliers are all purpose tools that you will want to keep near. The types of pliers you will use the most are round nose, flat nose and chain nose, however this list is not exclusive.

Caliper

Calipers are used to measure dimensions of individual items. You can purchase a digital or analog caliper.  They usually measure in inches or millimeters. They are perfect for measuring beads and spacers.

Findings

Findings are items such as clasps, jump rings, chain or any other parts that go into making your jewelry design.  They come in all shapes and sizes.  Once you start using findings in your designs, you may find that you like using some things more than others.  This may help your jewelry line stand out from the others.

Beads

Beads come in many shapes, sizes and materials.  You may be a designer that likes to use gemstones in your designs, while someone else may prefer to use glass or seed beads.  Smaller beads are great for creating layered designs.  Bigger beads tend to make a bold statement and may also be uses as focal pieces. No matter what size beads you prefer to use, allow your creativity to flow.

A Neat Workspace

To some, this may be an oxymoron.  When designing, it is easy to make clutter quickly. When you have a clear workspace, it may make it easier for your designs to come to life.  Clear plastic containers and resealable bags are a great way to get organized.  You may also want to keep your tools in one place.  If you have a lot of inventory and would like to know what you have at a glance, a section of slat wall or a rotating slat wall tower with pegs may be a great investment for you.